GALWAY manager John McIntyre is prepared for plenty of criticism as he ponders his future during the coming weeks, and he admitted that "Galway are further away from an All-Ireland now than at any stage in the last 20 years".
The quest for a first Liam MacCarthy Cup success since 1988 will stretch into a 24th year and whether or not Tipperary native McIntyre will be around to oversee it remains a moot point.
He reflected: "I will sit down -- I have another year to run with a review after this season. I'm a realist -- I can imagine some of the stuff that's being said.
"I'll sit down and talk to the hurling board and we'll carry out a review. The bottom line is -- whatever is in the best interests of Galway hurling, John McIntyre has no problem in accepting that."
McIntyre added: "Galway are further away now from an All-Ireland than at any stage in the last 20 years. We were cleaned out in every department.
"We knew there was going to be a huge Waterford backlash. I would have much preferred if Waterford were only beaten by two points rather than 21 (in the Munster final).
"I'd like to apologise on behalf of myself, the team management and the players to the Galway supporters that were here. That's not a true reflection of the team."
Waterford boss Davy Fitzgerald was emotional after one of the biggest victories of his managerial career. Following the 21-point whipping by Tipp in the Munster final, he badly needed a result here.
And he admitted that he found the previous fortnight extremely difficult, revealing that he was the victim of "mysterious" phone calls at night time.
He said: "I'm not going into it, they are not worth even talking to. They can keep ringing.
"There are people close to me (who) doubted me and gave me stick. I never doubt myself and I never doubted the lads. I'd stand on my head for them boys."
And Fitzgerald defended his decision to call his players in for a debriefing and training session at 9.0 on the morning after the Munster final.
He explained: "The most important thing was to feel the hurt and not hide away from it. You have to feel it.
"I'm happy with today but what's the story now, we just turn up in the semi-final and get beaten? Or do we go out and give it everything again?
"I think you've seen what they are capable of doing.
"You never give up on anything no matter what the story is. You fight, you fight, you fight and keep fighting even when things are bad.
"I'm proud of the boys and all them mysterious calls in the middle of the night, I enjoy them -- keep them coming."